Washington and London made it clear yesterday that they are not bluffing in the economic war against Moscow. They did so with the announcement of the ban on the import of gas and oil from Russia. In other words, the United States and the United Kingdom have boycotted the resources that largely finance the Russian Budget.
This is the most aggressive decision taken in the West since the invasion of Ukraine. And without a doubt it will result in the rebalancing of supply routes, with geopolitical consequences that are difficult to calculate.
Joe Biden and Boris Johnson they know well that the war in Ukraine is decided on the energy board. And the most effective way to stop Vladimir Putinwithout provoking a direct confrontation and without forcing an apocalyptic nuclear scenario, consists in preventing the Kremlin from being able to pay for an invasion with blood and fire that consumes billions of rubles every day.
With their willingness to “not subsidize Putin’s war”, as the US president said, both countries point the way to the Europeans. These will have, sooner rather than later, to definitively renounce dependence on Russian gas and bet on their own self-sufficiency. Only then will the European Union (EU) safe from the attacks of a tyrant who has not yet discovered his limits.
It is true that for the United States and the United Kingdom it is easier to adopt this determination. Russian imports do not cover even a tenth of its mix unlike an EU that is almost entirely dependent on Russian oil and gas. But Brussels will achieve the financial collapse of the main threat to its security if it follows the Anglo-American route.
Europe cannot do it overnight. What it can do is gradually reduce purchases from Moscow and bet on winning alternatives. In other words, invest more in nuclear and renewable energy, and promote projects that promote interconnection with third countries. The commissioning of the Midcat gas pipeline linking Spain with France would be a good start.
It is obvious, furthermore, that from the national point of view a historic opportunity is opening up. This was recognized by the President of the European Commission herself, Ursula von der LeyenIn his last meeting with Pedro Sanchez. Spain is “key” for the EU to free itself from the yoke of Moscow. Both for its gas connections with Algeria and for its potential to generate clean energy, with green hydrogen as a medium-term objective.
There is a winding road ahead. Decades cannot be reversed in days and Russia’s economic suffocation will result in our energy impoverishment for months or years. In return, however, an independent, powerful and respected European Union will be built.